Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jailbreak your way to Free-dom

So last year I bought the iPhone 3gs and realised how revolutionary it really was.....or so i thought. The endless capabilities of this technology also came with massive restrictions. Apple had sold me a dream of the perfect pocket technology, but failed to mention that all of the best bits are hidden behind extra costs. All of these great apps and games I had read about didn't come with the phone, nor did they come cheap. To have my picture perfect iPhone, I would have had to spend a years salary in the app store! And apart from the expensive games and apps, this phone couldn't even do what my sister's 5 year old Nokia could, sending pics and songs via bluetooth, change background colours etc. I did not sign up for this! As a student I could never afford the iPhone in the first place, I only got it because I used my Dad's mobile upgrade to get it for €100 and threw my sim card into it. Another bonus that came with this deal was that I got it through Vodafone's agent, Island Online Sales (IOS) which meant the phone came unlocked to any network. So given the fact that I had paid a minimal fee for the phone itself and 80% of the music occupying it was from Limewire, I had no intention of spending whatever little cash I had in the app store. There had to be another way. And sure enough there was. I was shown the magic of Jailbreaking by my Uncle (a computer engineer who loves nothing more than cracking technologies for fun). Suddenly the iPhone morphed from a phone into so much more. Nearly every restriction which had been imposed by Apple was blown out of the water! I could have my screens and icons in any colour/design/font that I wanted. Any game or app I craved came free from Installuous. My phone now thought that I was using wifi when I was actually using 3G. I could not (and still cannot) understand why and how people go to all of this time and effort to create programs and software such as Cydia and Installuous which allow the Average Joe to avail of such free benefits. I can only imagine the time and effort that it took hackers/developers to crack these technologies, but why bother? Why do so many people continue to crack these systems? Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just can't put my finger on their reason for doing it. Sure they get the apps for free after they do it, but is getting Sonic The Hedgehog free off Installuous really their motivation? I think these hackers do it for the challenge, to beat a big company such as Apple. I think a hacker cracking an app/game gets the same satisfaction as I would beating Tiger Woods in a game of golf. It's not so much what they're doing, but rather the satisfaction of their achievements. Given the fact that its a "shady" industry, there are no trophies for hacker of the year. No Superbowl or Playoffs to compete against other hackers. I hope that these people keep giving us cheap students a lifeline to amazing technologies, and with the Jailbreak solution LimeRa1n available for the newest Apple firmwares, I think this will be the case!